KENT: Kent State was down and out more than once against Bowling Green on Wednesday night.
The Golden Flashes trailed 13-0 to open the game and were behind another 13 points (40-27) not long into the second half. But twice Kent State fought back, and a team desperate for a win finally downed Bowling Green thanks to Devareaux Manley, who buried a fall-away 3-pointer from the corner with 0.6 seconds left to give KSU a 62-61 Mid-American Conference win at the M.A.C. Center.
“I knew I was going to make it,” said Manley, who finished with 14 points. “I just felt like we had nothing to lose. I didn’t have no conscience out there.”
Trailing 61-59, Kent State (13-11, 4-7 MAC) had the ball in the closing seconds. Kris Brewer drove to the basket and had a shot blocked by Bowling Green’s Cameron Block with three seconds remaining, though KSU kept possession. That’s when Manley broke free, caught the inbounds pass and fired the game-winner.
“I know he [KSU coach Rob Senderoff] trusts me a lot,” Manley said. “I was glad he called the “C” play because that’s my number and I’m glad I was able to step up.”
It was redemption for Manley, who on the prior possession nearly sank Kent State. With 9.4 seconds left and the score tied 59-59, Manley missed a 3-pointer from the opposite corner and then committed a foul going for the loose ball, giving the Falcons (10-14, 4-7) two free throws and a 61-59 lead.
He nearly gave the game to the Falcons. Then he took it from them.
“The one thing about Dev — and there’s a lot of things I want to kill him about — he does have a lot of mental toughness,” Senderoff said of Manley, who this season lost his starting role. “I’ll give him a ton of credit for being able to make that shot coming off the bench knowing he’s lost his starting spot.”
Derek Jackson was KSU’s life line for much of the game, scoring a career-high 25 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range, and kept the Golden Flashes within striking distance.
With six minutes remaining, Jackson had 25 points and all other scorers had 30.
Senderoff went with a young lineup, starting four sophomores and senior Darren Goodson. Jackson (for the first time this season) and Manley each came off the bench.
Senderoff said this week the biggest key for KSU was to increase production from the bench players. The Golden Flashes found it Wednesday night — KSU’s reserves outscored Bowling Green’s 45-2.
“I just want to win. If me coming off the bench helps the team win, then I’m all for it,” Jackson said. “I just wanted to be aggressive, coming off the bench or starting.”
After falling behind 13 points twice, Jackson twice had instances in which he scored and then stole the inbounds pass and scored again.
“There was a lot said. Coach said we came out flat and nobody was talking so we tried to tell everybody to talk more, attack more, be more aggressive,” Jackson said. “We had a slow start but we got it rolling.”
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.